Don’t talk in code…unless you are a spy.

Recently I was sending an email and used C/F instead of Chelmsford. The recipient said that she had taken some thought to work out what it meant. Fortunately, I know the person well but imagine if I hadn’t and had caused her this inconvenience.  I think we all use “shorthand”, usually work based, and assume people understand, but the reality is that we are potentially building barriers, and this doesn’t help with building relationships. Because communicating well is one way we build relationships.

This applies to not only how we communicate verbally but also in writing, and particularly how we communicate on our website. I can’t tell you7 the number of times I’ve gone to look at someone’s website and come away no better informed than when I started about what they do. Management speak, buzz words (Some of which never seem to disappear and are still incomprehensible to outsiders), and industry specific phrases which people outside that particular industry don’t come across. My C/F for example is Post Office shorthand which I last used professionally 25 years ago.

Yes people can ask, query, question but how many do? Most just move on to someone else, another person, another supplier, and we might be the person who could have been that supplier. What to do? My solution for long pieces of communication (Websites, policies, strategy reports) is to get someone to write it who does that professionally, for shorter pieces (Blog) is to get to someone outside my industry and ask them to read it. I ask the questions 1. Is it worth reading and 2. Do they understand what I am trying to communicate? Unfortunately, when communicating by, say, emails or when talking this separate check is impossible or would be too unwieldy. So, I try to be aware of talking in code but as my recent contact proved, I sometimes get it wrong.

What are your thoughts?

To help build our relationship, please accept my gift of 20 Top networking tips Just complete the form to download your copy.

Have fun, stay safe

Glenys

Networking?…it’s not really working

At the beginning of the year I was talking to a business contact about why his networking seemed to have stopped being so effective. He thought it was because people felt they couldn’t spend money because we are living in uncertain times or, he said, it might be because he was not meeting people face-to-face. So we started to talk in more depth because, he said, things were really not going well and they had been going very well.

The first question I asked was, had anything changed with his marketing? Well, of course, we were no longer allowed to meet face-to-face, but I know many people who had flourished despite having to use virtual meetings. So, not being able to meet face-to-face couldn’t be the problem, or at least not all of the problem. I also know many companies who have managed to maintain, and even grow, their business throughout the difficult times we have been living through. So, there is money out there that people want, or need, to spend.

Then he said “I really don’t like networking at virtual meetings”. (I’ve paraphrased a long monologue that he needed to get off his chest about what he really didn’t like about virtual meetings). Some of the things he mentioned are covered in my blog “Would you do that if we were meeting face to face?”

The main thing that came out was that he was networking less, so he was not meeting new contacts, and he was not nurturing those contacts he had made before March 2020. So we made a plan (I love a plan). We looked at what had happened to those networking events he used to attend and, for those which had started meeting virtually, we developed a diary of events he could attend. We also looked at what events were now available virtually and added them to his diary. He decided he would start by attending two or three a week. Finally, he decided to set aside half an hour a day for getting in touch with people he had lost touch with, to renew and develop the contacts he had worked hard to nurture. He actually made a promise to himself to do all this because, as he said ”I never break a promise.”

Every couple of weeks we would have a quick catch-up telephone chat, and guess what? Money is coming in! The reason it worked? Because you have to work at networking and keep working at it, otherwise it doesn’t work.

If you want more networking tips go to: Top 20 networking tips or get in touch if you would like me to work with you to improve your networking.

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

 

Meeting etiquette

Recently I was in a breakout room with someone who I had known since the first lockdown. Usually, she was great to spend time with: upbeat, knowledgeable in her field and not pushy. Today it was different, she obviously had to get something off her chest. It seems that, in the main room, someone was eating while being on camera, and she was irate!

My understanding of what was being said was that she thought this was unprofessional and disrespectful since, she said, whilst concentrating on eating, full attention was not being given to whatever was being said. Also, part of the problem was how close we are when we are meeting via a screen rather than when in a face-to-face meeting. Suffice to say once she had her say, she calmed down and became the upbeat, knowledgeable-in-her-field and not-pushy person I had known so far.

Now, I hadn’t seen the person eating, but her strong response got me thinking:

  • First, is eating during virtual meetings acceptable?
  • Next, if no, what is acceptable to consume?
  • And finally, the issue of people multi-tasking during meetings.

So, let’s look at each issue a bit more.

Is eating during virtual meetings acceptable?

Well, I’d rather not watch someone eating, and some people, I think, forget they are not sat on their own in their dining room. They shovel it in, munch away and keep inspecting whatever food is left in their hand. I don’t really like it and I do think it looks unprofessional. After all, how many meetings do you go to with potential customers where you eat your toast during the meeting? I don’t feel very strongly, but I would rather not see it in a virtual meeting. Furthermore, there’s no travelling time, so this saved time could be used to have the food before the meeting.

If eating is not acceptable, then is anything acceptable?

Now, I must admit to a challenge I have. I drink cappuccinos and, when I do, I have to stop myself from licking the spoon. There. It’s said, I’m working on it and trying my best. Phew! That’s better now it’s in the open. Anyway, from that you can see that I think it’s OK to drink non-alcoholic drinks during a virtual meeting—but from a glass, cup or receptacle that has been produced for drinking from. Not, as I saw once, drinking from the container it was bought in.

Multi-tasking during meetings

My contact was in part annoyed because she thought if people are eating, they are not concentrating on what is being said. I agree, and if you want to know more about this go to: https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=154

What do you think?

(And, in case you are saying, “Don’t ebn meet over breakfast?” Yes, we do, and we stop any kind of presenting while we all eat breakfast and chat to our neighbours, and we sit further apart than we do when we meet virtually.)

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

It all happens subliminally.

Recently I was talking to a business contact about someone we both knew. He said “Oh I’d never refer him to my contacts, he’s always late and disorganised” I was surprised since I also thought the same thing. I was interested to work out why we had come to the same conclusion but we both didn’t really know why.

We discussed it further and realised that it was based on two things:

1 Arriving late at meetings, even virtual ones!

Now, neither of us had actively thought about this individually, but both of us thought he was always late, without being able to say when he had been late, how late and how often. We just both thought he was always late, and we wouldn’t make any introductions because we assumed he’d turn up late to any meeting.

2 Not prepared.

Again, we realised that we hadn’t made a decision about this, we just thought he was ill-prepared. My contact said he never came to a meeting and seemed to have thought about the meeting. In addition, my contact had once seen him give a presentation at an event and he didn’t seem to know what was coming next…and it was his presentation! Oh, and he had turned up late!

So why is any of this important?

We need to know that we all make judgements: “Wouldn’t have put those shoes with that dress” at a base level to “Wouldn’t refer him/her to my best client” at a much more important level. The problem is that some judgements we know we are making, even if we try not to.  Some judgements we make subliminally and those are the ones that are much more difficult to deal with.

The important thing is to know that subliminally we are all being judged, and so perhaps we need to behave as if we are trying to make a first impression.

What do you think?

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun, stay safe

Glenys

I’m too busy to network

Recently I was talking to a business contact who said she was too busy at the moment to network. It is great that her business is thriving, but I think she is wrong about thinking the right time to network is when she is not busy.

Why? Because networking takes time. It’s a slow burn and people need to get to know you before they will be prepared to trust their reputation by referring you to their contacts. If you don’t network there may be a steep downturn between busy and no work at all. You need to maintain relationships, or even start to build relationships. I know this balancing of actual work against possible work is difficult, but remember: networking can be done by email, via social media, telephone calls, virtual meetings or 1-2-1s. Networking is about starting conversations, starting to build relationships. If the past months have taught us anything, it is that face-to-face is fantastic. I can’t wait to get back to those meetings, but there are other ways that allow networking.

Also, when you network skills are learnt, maintained and improved by practice, so if you stop networking, because you’re too busy, your skills can become rusty. In addition, maintaining your networking means that you stay on people’s radar. If you stop networking people will forget you, however fabulous you are, or think you’ve gone out of business, particularly given the challenging times we have all had since March 2020.

One of the things I have noticed in this last year+ is the number of new people who are networking, either because they decided to start a business in a very difficult year or because they have started to network because they feel more confident being in their office than in a room full of people. (If this is you, make face-to-face networking easy by reading my blog “The 3-3-3 rule” https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=34 )

Why is this relevant to your decision to network or not? Because if you don’t network you will miss the opportunity to meet all these new people and that’s a fabulous opportunity missed in my opinion, because you don’t know who they know.

So—don’t leave networking for when you aren’t busy. Add some networking to your diary every day, even if it’s just a phone call as you drink your morning coffee. Find a way to maintain your presence, contacts, and relationships. Networking works, I know. I now do it for a living.

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun, stay safe

Glenys

It’s not personal.

I have a philosophy of life. You live it to the full, grabbing adventures and opportunities, laughing a lot, having excitement, and never settling for less than the best. This applies to all aspects of my life including my business. In fact, how I approach networking is that “you don’t have to be serious to be serious about business”[1].

So, what’s the problem?

Well, those people who ‘get’ me and my approach may be surprised to learn that some people don’t like my approach. I’ve been told that I’m overwhelming, I’m frivolous about networking, and that business is serious and should be treated seriously. I am happy that people feel able to voice their opinion. I also like that, as with any such feedback I receive, I can listen, think about it, and then change my behaviour, or not.

One person summed it up nicely “You’re a Marmite kind of person” I’m happy with that. Whoever we are, whatever we are like, someone won’t like us, the way we act, speak, how we dress…you get the idea. It might be that if people give us feedback they are trying to be helpful. For example, it might be they are giving advice based on how you are dressed and how the customers you are trying to attract dress.

During our lives, both personal and business, we make decisions that others may not like, approve of or support. That’s fine. Their opinion is based on their life and business experiences and their approach to life. Don’t worry, it isn’t personal. It can feel personal, but it really isn’t.

  • Potential customers say no to your product for all sorts of reasons.
  • Existing customers stop using your product for all kinds of reasons.

Think about when you decided that you didn’t want to use, or continue to use, a particular supplier…how often was that decision based on some personal reason?

You may want to reflect on any feedback they give you, and then change your product, process, system, or behaviour…or you may not. Because, whatever you decide, it’s not personal.

What do you think?

In the meantime, here’s my gift to you to help with you networking, my Top 20 networking tips .

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys


[1] Thanks to Lesley Morrisey for this strapline

Don’t ask? Don’t get!

Whenever I wish someone a happy birthday I say “May your day be filled with love, laughter, fun and cake” which, to my mind, is a recipe for a perfect life, not just for a birthday. People then say variations of “Thank you” and I then ALWAYS ask “Will there be cake?” then, and because I am a very supportive person, I offer to help with any leftovers. Suffice to say I have never received any cake and I thought this was always going to be the case. Then one of my Linkedin connections said, “Where do you live?”

We discovered that we live about a mile apart. How amazing is that? Then she said, and this is not verbatim,” I’ve got loads of cake because apart from being my birthday I have also launched my book. I’ll bring some round”. Gasp! And she did! We had a lovely chat, with me about 4 metres away from her, and her being very respectful of the distancing. Then my beloved and I sat down to a cup of tea and some delish cakes (it was mid-afternoon on a Saturday afternoon when she arrived in case you are wondering).

When networking, I always want people to ask me for what they want or need. Why? Because I am always fabulous, but I am never going to be a mind reader (which is probably a good thing!). This applies to you and everyone you meet. If you need something you have to ask. That’s one of the reasons we network: people want to help. Don’t be pushy when asking, but that always applies in networking—and life—because no one likes pushy. Ask, don’t demand. Don’t get disillusioned or upset if you don’t get what you ask for, that’s how life goes. But one day you will ask someone like Elizabeth Forbes-Stobbe and you will get what you ask for and strengthen a connection.

What do you think?

In the meantime, here’s my gift to you to help with you networking, my Top 20 networking tips .

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

The answer’s always “No”

One of the lessons I have been taught is that, until I ask the question, the answer, in my head, is always “No”. In business this often takes the form of delaying making that call or sending that email to ask a potential customer if they want to go ahead with that work. I think of a hundred and one things that are more important, like clearing out cupboards, tidying paperclips or looking out of the window, all the while thinking, they’ll say “No” and that will be awful. Then, courage in hand, I contact them, and they say “So glad you have called/emailed. Yes let’s get this moving”.

Why do we do this? Why do we always think that the answer will be “No”? It is because our brains are hardwired to think of negatives rather than positives. We know at some basic level that negatives can kill us. Evolution has taught us that we need to remember bad things because then we are better able to keep ourselves away from similar situations. When I was seven I was stung by a nest of wasps. As a child I really avoided wasps after that. So, when I see a wasp I remember having to have the wasps combed out of my hair, the pain of the stings and the awful camomile lotion. Now when I see a wasp I ‘talk myself down’. There is only one or two, not hundreds. I can take myself away from the situation, and there are some great wasp killers on the market. Now when I see a wasp I deal with it and move on, telling myself that it’s great that I managed a situation and refocus on the lovely day.

This brain processing is called negative bias by psychologists and knowing this can help manage our actions and our thoughts. We can decide to let the negative fester, or we can manage it. Imagine you are having a lovely day and then someone cuts you up on the road. Instead of thinking what a lovely day you are having, your brain is programmed to focus on the negative event. At this point you need to decide will you have a bad moment, or will you have a bad day? You choose because the answer will always be “No” in your head.

Need more help with you networking? Please accept my gift of Top 20 networking tips .

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

How are you doing?

It is almost a year since the first lockdown in England, when we were told to stay home in an attempt to stop this horrendous virus. If you read my blogs regularly (thank you) you will know that this time last year I was knocked sideways, see “Being hit by a two by four”: https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=145 as my business seemed to have disappeared and I was getting letters, phone calls and texts giving dire warnings about going past my own front door.

 I know, whatever challenges I have faced, some others have faced worse. We have all valiantly battled with virtual meetings, working out the etiquette, lighting, camera angle whilst at the same time dealing with strange hairdos, barking dogs, deliveries arriving in the middle of meetings, people drilling outside the room we are working in…you know what I am talking about.

 It’s been a long year, while, at the same time, time has flown. As we learnt how to get connected, unmute and mute, and leave a meeting by saying goodbye, doing the obligatory wave and then have to find the leave button. People have shared their problems, both business and personal, we have laughed together, and tried to make sense of what is happening and how we deal with it, together. This is what networking has always meant to me—having people around me who give advice, support, and refer people to me so my business grows. Networking has meant I have helped others when they have challenges and celebrated their successes.

In all this malarkey all the pluses of networking have remained, and we have dealt with the minuses. We have tried to remain positive, even when things were uncertain and sometimes basically frightening.

In the last month however, things seem to have changed. As one contact said: “I can see a light at the end of a tunnel and for the first time in ages I don’t think it’s a train coming towards me”. People are getting their injections and we are on our way to safety, to getting back to meeting people without fear. Life will not be the same, many of us have learnt new ways which will be carried over even when we are allowed to meet in face-to-face. It will be fantastic, I cannot wait, and I know others feel the same. What I hope is that we do not lose that deeper sharing, that people continue to feel they can talk about how they are doing as well as how their business is doing.

Since networking is about building relationships, please accept my gift of Top 20 networking tips by following this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to download your copy.

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

Time is of the essence. Part 2

You will probably not be surprised to know that I do a lot of networking. Now, of course, networking is my only business, so I do it as business as well as for business. But I have always done networking as a major part of my marketing, whatever business I have owned. The result of all this activity is that I meet lots of wonderful people. However, I have a problem…I forget things. (Strangely this is getting worse the older I get so I think maybe my brain has reached storage capacity.)

Often this memory loss looks like this: after the event I gaze at the business card I have from someone (or in these virtual days I gaze at the chat, or at a picture on LinkedIn). (Actually, LinkedIn photos are a whole other blog) and I gaze but can I remember them, no.

I am sure I am not alone in this memory glitch syndrome, so I thought I’d share what I do when doing the obligatory follow-up*. The upshot of this reality of my life is that I have a rule, which is: if there are any outstanding follow-ups from the previous week still outstanding they always get done on a Monday. Why? Because:

  • People don’t get forgotten, and feel ignored (yes they might contact you, but they may not, and your marketing should not be dependent on other people making the best use of their networking),
  • I have a clear ‘to do’ list as I start the new week’s networking, and given the memory issue,
  • I can say “Great/good/lovely to meet you last week” and I know I have met them last week!

So, when networking and building relationships, time, for me, is really of the essence.

Need some help with your networking?

Go to: www.ebn.uk.com  and download my Top 20 Networking tips.

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

* Don’t do follow ups? Go to: https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=57 to find out why I think you should.